Google Makes Bid to Be a Destination Instead of a Highway

Google's search engine hasn't been exactly the HAL 9000. You type in a word or a phrase, and the results can seem pretty random and often lead to a lot of fruitless clicking until you find something that seems right. And then you have to click on that link to see if it's what you're really looking for.

A May 16 blog post from Amit Singhal, SVP of engineering at Google, indicates that the company's search engine has inched closer to human intelligence. In the post, Singhal describes Google's newly launched "Knowledge Graph" as a "critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the Web and understands the world a bit more like people do."

In less highfalutin language, Google results no longer just list the specific word or phrase you're searching for—it also lists links that are related to whatever it is you're searching for, and breaks up results into separate groupings for those instances when the word or phrase that you entered in the search field has more than one meaning.

Perhaps more important, Google searches can yield interesting, related content that stands on its own, requiring no further click-throughs. Knowledge Graph summarizes content based on what you typed into the search field, giving you the facts and data you were perhaps looking for instantly, or providing you with unexpected content that leads you to a more focused search.

This makes Google's search engine more of a destination and less of an endless road full of distractions that you must wade through while you're on your way to somewhere else. The challenge for brands will be to figure out how to get their interesting content to be favored by the new Knowledge Graph.

Follow Steve Goldstein: @SGoldsteinAI